A new survey has revealed that nearly one fifth of tenants are spending more than half their take-home pay on rent.
National housing charity Threshold said its survey also showed only 15pc of tenants in the private rented sector are renting by choice.
The Tenant Sentiment Survey 2020 found the remaining 85pc are renting because they cannot afford to buy or cannot access a mortgage or social housing.
The survey was conducted between February and August and assessed the outlook of more than 150 tenants in the private rental sector.
It showed the vast majority (91pc) find it difficult or extremely difficult to find rental accommodation.
Meanwhile, 57pc reported they are paying more than 30pc of their take-home pay on rent and nearly a fifth are paying more than half.
"The findings of our Tenant Sentiment Survey paint a grim picture of people's experience of renting in Ireland, all of which need to be addressed by policymakers," said Threshold chairperson Aideen Hayden.
"We are particularly concerned about the far-reaching consequences of carrying a rental burden into old age.
"In the absence of adequate social housing provision, the State will ultimately pay a hefty price."
When asked why they had quit their previous rented acc- ommodation, 43pc said they were forced to leave.
A quarter said their previous landlord had issued a notice of termination either for the purpose of selling the property or for their own use.
The survey also revealed 24pc of tenants said their rent had been increased in the preceding 12 months, with 44pc seeing it go up by more than 4pc - the maximum by which rent can be increased in a Rent Pressure Zone.
A total of 70pc reported they have lived in the private rental sector for six years or more, while less than half (46pc) of respondents said they felt secure in their current rented home.
More than half of tenants (53pc) said they had experienced iss-ues with the standard of repairs in their accommodation.
More than a third (31pc) said their income was reduced as a result of Covid, but only 37pc of those applied for rent supplement or HAP.
A total of 44pc of respondents said they wanted to own their own home in the next five years.